Health outreach program receives $400,000 grant
CENTREVILLE — The innovative program designed to help citizens who frequently call 911 for non-life-threatening medical reasons has again been recognized for its success — this time with a $400,000 grant from health insurer CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.
The Mobile Integrated Community Health Program, MICH for short, offers free services to county residents over the age of 18 who are identified as high risk patients prone to over-use of 911 services and emergency room visits.
Those participating in the program are offered a home visit by a nurse practitioner/nurse and a paramedic who assess the patient’s needs. The visit may include a review of past medical history, a limited physical assessment, a medication review, home-safety check and health education.
If asked, the health care team may also recommend resources for finding a primary care provider and obtaining health insurance and give referrals to other community agencies that may be able to provide assistance. The program is not a replacement for traditional home health care or visiting nurse agencies.
Dr. Joseph Ciotola, the county’s health officer, was a driving force when the program was first launched in 2014.
“By meeting these patients in their homes and getting to know them and their medical needs, we hope to be able to avert unnecessary ambulance calls and admissions to emergency rooms when the call is not actually a medical emergency,” Ciotola said.
Deputy Health Officer Jennie M. Burris said, “We are excited to have received this grant from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to continue the success of our Mobile Integrated Community Health Program. The MICH Program is demonstrating positive health outcomes in reducing emergency room utilization and reduction of 911 calls. One of the main goals of the program is to enable patients to have an active role in their health and to connect with county resources.”
Nationwide, EMS systems treat 5 to 10 percent of the population each year in response to requests for emergency care; however, less than 3 percent of those calls involve life-threatening injury or illness, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
In 2014, the Mar yland Association of Counties presented Queen Anne’s County with the 2014 President’s Healthy Counties Best Practices Award for the MICH program. The following year it earned the Star of Life Award for Outstanding EMS Program by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medicine.
The program is made available through the support of University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the county commissioners, and the county’s Departments of Emergency Services and of Health.
The MICH program will begin using telehealth technology to link high risk patients with Shore Regional Health System’s Shore Post-Acute Care Clinic. The grant and evaluation specialists at Chesapeake Charities, a community foundation, were instrumental in helping the MICH program achieve this grant.
For more information about the MICH Program, contact 443-262-4515 or 410758-0720 ext. 4515, or visit http://dhmh. mar yland.gov/qahealth/Pages/mich. aspx.